An Israeli offensive against Hamas in Gaza appears inevitable at the moment. In the past few days pproximately 100 mortars and rockets have rained down on southern Israel from Gaza. Hamas obviously wants to provoke an engagement with Israeli forces. Among the many reports on the current situation, I find the one by Haaretz correspondents Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff particularly informative, especially concerning the confusion among Israel’s leaders.
JOHN adds: Hamas’ provocation includes the release of propaganda photos of its terrorists carrying out rocket attacks, like this one:
Of course, the damage done by the rockets is very real, as this photo of a destroyed home in Tkuma shows:
FURTHER UPDATE by JOHN: Hamas hasn’t succeeded in murdering any Israelis yet, but it did manage to kill two little Palestinian girls earlier today:
A projectile fired by Palestinian militants fell short of its target in Israel on Friday, striking a house in northern Gaza and killing two schoolgirls. … Gaza Health Ministry official Dr. Moiaya Hassanain said the two victims, ages 5 and 12, were cousins. Three other children were wounded, he said.
The AP’s correspondent, Ibrahim Barzak, explains helpfully that “Similar incidents have occurred in the past, though they are rare.” Yes, so rare that we have to go all the way back to day before yesterday to find the last two such incidents:
In Gaza, health officials said Iyad Dremly, a Palestinian attorney who works for a conflict resolution center, was badly wounded in an explosion that ripped through his two-story apartment building in Gaza City.
Militants were firing rockets and mortars from the area, and the military said it did not carry out any attacks on Gaza.
Two other civilians were hurt when a rocket landed on another house several miles to the north in Beit Lahiya.
Barzak goes on to note: “[A]s with similar cases in the past, there were no immediate signs of backlash against the militants after the girls’ death.” That could be due to the profound sickness of Palestinian society. It also could be due to the fact that the Hamas thugs are the ones with the rocket launchers.
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